CAPE TOWN: While expressing delight on the return of international cricket to Pakistan, Cricket South Africa (CSA) Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said that regaining the milestone of the visit of an international team was a crucial step in completely reviving international cricket in the country.
Five players will represent the CSA – most from any country – in the World XI that is set to tour Pakistan next month. Lorgat explained that the players themselves felt it was right to support cricket in Pakistan.
“The players made themselves available [for World XI] as they believe it is the right thing to do to support Pakistan and we encouraged them,” Lorgat told a group of Pakistani journalists here in a briefing ahead of the T20 Global League players’ draft.
The CSA chief stated that it was important to support Pakistan, noting that his board enjoys a good relationship with Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and that the World XI trip will prove to be a big step in building confidence for future tours.
“It’s too early to say if an SA team would tour Pakistan in near future,” Lorgat responded when asked if there is any likelihood of South Africa visiting Pakistan soon. “Let’s see how [the situation] unfolds,” the CSA head said. “Sometime in future, we will see whether the team is ready to tour Pakistan,” he added.
Speaking of Pak-India cricket ties, Lorgat said the two countries’ teams shouldn’t stop playing, but mentioned that it is something to be decided by the respective boards.
“India-Pakistan series is for [the countries’ boards] to sort out,” he said. “We are from a country where Nelson Mandela [pushed people to] tolerate differences and respect diversity, so we want to encourage people to work together, be together. We all have differences but that doesn’t mean we can’t play together.”
Lorgat also praised the Pakistan Super League (PSL), commenting on how the series became phenomenal for Pakistani cricket in a very short span of time and hoped the same would be true for South Africa Cricket through T20 Global League (T20GL).
“Pakistani owners are passionate about the game,” he said, noting that how they love seeing youth develop and they want cricket to grow. “I have seen the program Qalandars do in Pakistan, with over 100,000 players participating. We are blessed to have such passionate owners on board with us for this league,” he said, referring to PSL owners in the GLT20.
The CSA head added that League Cricket will have an important role in the promotion of the game but felt that it is still not in a position to take on football in the global industry. “Cricket can’t have future like football in leagues; there is a limited number of leagues that can sustain. International cricket is still the model that generates revenue for most of the country,” Lorgat said.